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China has been strengthening its military in recent years. Photo: Xinhua

US think tank brands military ‘weak’ in face of ‘aggressive’ China

  • The right-wing Heritage Foundation says Beijing is expanding its strength ‘with the cunning of serpents’ and compares the Taiwan situation with Ukraine
  • Report says US military is ‘ill-equipped’ to cope with two major regional contingencies at the same time

The United States military has been rated “weak” by a conservative US think tank in a report that warns China is “expanding its strength and global influence with the cunning of serpents”.

The Heritage Foundation report published on Tuesday also said China remains “aggressive” in the scope of its provocative behaviour and earns the score of “formidable” for its capability.

What is China’s Central Military Commission and why is it so powerful?

In its index of US military power, which it downgraded from “marginal” to “weak”, the report said the force is certainly “ill-equipped” to handle two nearly simultaneous major regional contingencies – a situation that is made more difficult by the generally weak condition of key military allies.

The over 570-page document said China “has spent the past three decades methodically leveraging Western elites’ decadence and compromising American institutions to its own strategic advantage”.

It added: “We should remember Vladimir Putin and Ukraine when thinking of China and Taiwan.”

The assessment comes as relations between China and the US have worsened in the past year.

On Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping restated Beijing’s long-standing policy that it did not renounce the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control – prompting Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of US naval operations, to warn that the US should be prepared for Beijing to try to assert control over the island within a year.


Why mainland China is holding military drills in Taiwan Strait following US Speaker Pelosi’s trip

Why mainland China is holding military drills in Taiwan Strait following US Speaker Pelosi’s trip
The People’s Liberation Army conducted unprecedented military exercises around Taiwan after the US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island in August.

The report said Beijing’s statements about Taiwan and exercises around the island have become increasingly “belligerent”, adding that China is taking note of the war in Ukraine and US military developments and has been adjusting its own posture, training and investments accordingly.

The report said that in the aggregate, the United States’ military posture can only be rated as “weak.” The air force is rated “very weak,” the navy and space force “weak”, and the army as “marginal”.

It says America’s nuclear capabilities are “strong” but trending towards “marginal” or even “weak”. By contrast it said China’s nuclear forces appear to be shifting from a minimal deterrent posture, suited only to responding to an attack, to a more robust but still limited deterrent posture.

‘Use of military power needs to be normalised’, Xi Jinping tells congress

Gilday said on Wednesday that he was prioritising a “fight tonight” posture for the US Navy in response to “what we’re seeing from an increasingly aggressive China and Russia”.

“The ships we put out there have to be ready to fight,” Gilday said, adding the air wing in the future will be 60 per cent drones compared with 40 per cent piloted.